You need to have read thru chapter eleven (ALL of part I) of To Kill a Mockingbird to respond to this topic.  If you have NOT read thru chapter eleven, please do NOT read further (as it will spoil/give away information you haven't read yet).

  • In the last chapter of part I (chapter eleven) we meet and experience Mrs. Henry Lafayette DuBose... and I'm not sure if there is a meaner woman in all of Macomb (just my personal opinion).  Some of the things she says and does are just way too out-of-line!  She seems to have nothing but awful things to say about Scout and even Atticus, but despite all that, Atticus consents that Jem read to her for a month.  
  • At the very end of the chapter, we learn that Mrs. Dubose dies, but she clearly leaves some kind of significant impact on Jem.  She wills him a box containing "a white, waxy, perfect camellia.  It was a Snow-on-the-Mountain" (Lee 148).  Jim screams, calls her names, and even throws the box in the fire, but later on that night he's "fingering the wide petals," clearly showing that she meant something more to him (Lee 149).  Atticus not only calls her a lady, but the "bravest person [he] ever [knew]," even though Mrs. DuBose called him some awful names! (Lee 149).  What a complex, complicated character!
  • So here is the question: What is the purpose of Mrs. Dubose?  What is her role in the story?  Why does her character exist?  And here's another way to look at it: How would the story change--what would it lose--if Mrs. Dubose was NOT in the book?  And here's something else to think about: there are only two parts to this novel, and part one ends with the death of Mrs. DuBose... what might that mean?  What might be coming?  Why is the death of this particular character a significant enough event to end the first part of the book on?  (Make sure to link your answer to the "big picture" and the central ideas that this book explores.)

Tags: TKaMB

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Ms.Dubose can trick you if you don't know her story or don't know heer. Anyone can look at her and say she is a depressed but that is wrong. She is harsh and mean. Not the most nicest women. She is very mean and straightforward, she not afraid to say the truth and sometimes the truth hurts, so maybe that's why she sounds mean and uses harsh words.

      I think that the purpose of Mrs. Dubose in the story is to show Scout and Jem what courage is. Furthermore, Mrs. Dubose was a person who saw things differently from the Finches and she was not afraid to speak her mind. In chapter 11 of "To Kill a Mockingbird", Atticus tells Jem, "She had her own views about things, a lot different from mine, maybe...son, I told you that if you hadn't lost your head I'd have made you go read to her. I wanted you to see something about her---I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand."(Lee 112). This evidence shows that Atticus wanted Jem to talk to Mrs. Dubose because he wanted Jem to know what real courage is because Jem thought that a brave person is someone who has a gun and isn't afraid to fight but Atticus wanted him to see that a brave person is someone who keeps going no matter what and isn't afraid to say what is on his/her mind. Thus, Mrs. Dubose taught Jem and Scout how to be courageous because she let everyone know what she believed, even on her death bed.

I think the purpose of Mrs.Dubose in the story is to show that we should try to put ourselves in someone else's position and have sympathy.When one can be sympathetic towards Mrs.Dubose, understanding that she is in pain and struggling due to her illness,we will find her actions to make more sense. When Mrs.Dubose insults Atticus and Scout, it is wrong of her to do so and it does not seem to make much sense to me even though she was a morphine addict.I think that when one is ill they should not take it out on others but it is important for the person that is getting insulted to be sympathetic.To further reinforce this point, Atticus the father of Scout in the novel To Kill a Mockingbird states"'Jem when you're sick as she was,it's all right to take anything to make it easier'"(Lee 148). This evidence shows that Atticus understood Mrs.Dubose in a way and he even treated her respectfully despite what she had said about him.Certainly it is difficult to be as sympathetic as Atticus was in this case because most people would have found it hard to have sympathy towards an individual like Mrs.Dubose. All in all, Atticus showed that being sympathetic can make one's actions more clear.

Mrs.Dubose was a way for Atticus to teach Jem and Scout a lesson on courage and tolerance. As a character Atticus understands the mental and physical pain Dubose is going through, but she still has self-courage to die in pain with no help of any drug. Because Atticus sees this he believes Dubose is a perfect example that even though the world may throw hardships at you left and right you can still-to the last second-change what you are used to (drugs in this case) and die being content with you. This does not only show that Dubose have courage, but tolerance too because she had the ability to tolerate the pain she was feeling, but also the judgement of those she was rude to while she was on her dying bed. Dubose is "the bravest person [Atticus] ever [knew]" because she want a representation of how you always can turn your life around and till the last bit of your life you can still have an affect on people even though you or them might not know no it-just like Dubose had an affect on Jem without him realizing it till it was too late. The "teachings" of Miss Henry Lafayette Dubose will stay with Jem, Scout, and Atticus into part two of the book- be full of tolerance and always be courageous mentally and physically.



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